Fridays are tip days at SimpleProductivity blog.
There is so much information out there on productivity. Too much, really. We read articles, skim blogs, buy books and planners and software in the hopes of being more productive.
We thrust authors to the top of the best seller lists because they have a way to make us be at the top of our game.
“Do X and Y and Z and you will get there,” they promise.
The flip side of this, as Johnny B. Truant pointed out in his (explicit) article, “Here’s what you should do”:
If someone says “You should do X,” it really means, “If you don’t do X, you won’t get the result you want.”
He then observes: “Should is the mark of a formula.”
Why We Want Formulas
We want things to be repeatable. We want to be able to do what the next guy does and get the same results. It’s a guarantee. We do the footwork, and there are the predictable results.
I want productivity to work like a recipe. I put the ingredients in in the prescribed order, do the necessary actions, and I want to get similar results every time.
Only life doesn’t work that way.
People don’t respond to formulas.
What It Boils Down To
What it all boils down to is that we just want to get things done.
Yet, because each person is an individual, no one will be able to get things done in the same way. While paper-based lists may work for John, Suzie may need electronic. Where Mary might not mind lugging around a binder, Joe may hate it to the point of disuse.
So the bad news is that there is no 100% guaranteed formula. And if someone promises you one, know they will not be able to deliver.
There are no formulas to productivity, be they systems or methodologies.
Beware The “System”
It’s not that the concept behind systems are inherently bad. It is just that using them verbatim is simply following a formula, and there is no guarantee of success.
There is the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Learn To Fish
It’s important that instead of using someone elses methodology or system that you understand why they recommend doing something. Once you understand the reason, you can determine if it is valid for you or not. And it might help you apply it to your own life.
Productivity is not like making a cake from a box mix. One person’s successful methodology may not work for another person because of personality or situation. Be careful before you accept a system without thinking about the whys behind it.
What do you think? Am I wrong?
Photo by wburris